Happy 47th Birthday Drew Barrymore

by Kevin Burton

   Once upon a time (90s and aughts) in a land far, far away (Ohio), I played out one grand obsession. 

   The object of that grand obsession, actress Drew Barrymore, turned 47 yesterday.

   These days I have one thing I did not have then, a blog with which to embarrass myself. So here goes.

   There was a time when I could not, not, not get enough of Drew Barrymore.  And for a couple of years straight I was unemployed in that time period.  So you know what I did?

   I gathered all my VHS tapes of Drew movies, bought some more because I didn’t quite have enough, and put together my one-man cinema marathon, “The 24 hours of Drew.” 

   I did this twice I believe, two years in a row in July I think it was.

   The 24 hours of Drew was just what it says, back-to-back-to-as-many-as-it-takes Drew Barrymore movies.

   Keep in mind this was an idea I got before I became sleep-deprived.

   Drew is the granddaughter of legendary actor John Barrymore.  This fact is mentioned in her Wikipedia bio before any of her movies.  Much as I like Drew, you have to know there is a reason for that.

   “Her career began at eleven months, when she appeared in a dog-food commercial. She was nipped by her canine co-star, to which she merely laughed and was hired for the job,” according to Wikipedia.  She’s been rolling with the punches ever since.

   Her most memorable child roles were in “ET” and “Irreconcilable Differences,” in which she plays a child divorcing her parents. 

   Barrymore had a much-chronicled troubled wild-child childhood but she survived to become a cinematic mainstay.

   Drew is well-liked by critics and most others, so she hasn’t had the criticism that others may have gotten while doing this many movies without a meaty career-defining role to make her stand out.

   My favorite Drew movie is “The Wedding Singer.” I was afraid Adam Sandler would overact and ruin the movie, but he did not. He and Drew worked quite well together I think. 

   Another favorite is “Never Been Kissed,” in which she plays a journalist re-enrolling in high school for the sake of a story.

   I am partial to “Fever Pitch” and “Music And Lyrics” because of Drew and the baseball and music storylines of the films.

   Drew’s characters are almost always likeable but I don’t think I have seen her in a role that stretched her to the limits of her acting ability.

   Were I to make the case for Drew Barrymore, serious actress, I would point to 1995’s “Mad Love.” If you haven’t seen that one (and it is likely you haven’t) check it out.

   She plays a mentally-challenged high school girl who breaks out of a facility, with the help of her previously ultra-responsible love interest Matt. Their adventures and misadventures on the road require Barrymore to flex her acting talents for a change, rather than her charm.  She doesn’t disappoint.

   “It is becoming increasingly clear what a good actress Drew Barrymore is,” wrote Chicago Sun-Times movie critic Roger Ebert after seeing Mad Love. “Here, she has a couple of scenes that could have gone badly wrong – a blowup in a restaurant and a confrontation with Matt – and she plays them just right, not too dramatically or strangely, but with the right balance of bravado and fear.”

    My original idea for this post was to watch one of the Drew movies I haven’t already seen and review it.  But I had an “oh, yeah” moment.

   I looked through the movies and their synopses and suddenly remembered why I got off the Drew bandwagon. None of the movies was particularly interesting, nothing I wanted to trade two hours of my life for. Maybe I’ll circle back to them, who knows.

   I watched both of the stupid Charlie’s Angels movies in my marathons just because Drew was in them.  I’m just not willing to do that anymore.

   (Never saw “ET” though. Not into that kind of movie Drew or no Drew.)

   So Drew is my favorite actress the way the Cleveland Cavaliers are my favorite NBA team.  These are clear favorites from the past in areas (NBA, movies) where I have lost interest and don’t really have a present-day favorite.

   I met actor Steve Zahn at a baseball game once, which places me at two degrees of separation from Drew since they co-starred in “Riding In Cars With Boys.”

   That level of proximity wasn’t enough to get me an invite to her birthday party yesterday. It’s just as well. We would have nothing to talk about.

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